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This guide covers Laurent Clerc's writings, Helen Keller's quotations, slavery, the Nobel Prize, the Gallaudet Family, the Holocaust, and the Civil War.
Last Updated: Sep 19, 2017 URL: http://libguides.gallaudet.edu/content.php?pid=352126 Print Guide RSS Updates

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Deaf soldiers

(Excerpted 1/16/01 from the Gallaudet University Library Guide to Deaf Biographies database developed by Thomas R. Harrington, Gallaudet University Library)

Barnard, John Gross

May 19, 1815-May 14, 1882
American
Soldier, military officer, author
Had inherited deafness, leaving him hard of hearing. Born in Sheffield, Massachusetts; graduated U.S. Military Academy, 1833; served in the Army Corps of Engineers during the Mexican-American War (rank of Major) and in the Civil War (Major-General). Wrote many books on military engineering and military history.
Reference: Dictionary of American biography, vol.1, p.626-627.

Berkeley, William Meade

July 4, 1838-June 2, 1900
American
Teacher, soldier, military
Born deaf; graduated from the Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind. Served in the Confederate Army during the Civil War, being wounded in action. Worked at the Staunton (VA) Spectator newspaper both before and after the Civil War. Teacher at the Virginia School, 1872-1900.
Reference: Notable deaf persons, p.195-196; CAID proceedings, 16th, p.310-11.

Blount, John

fl. 1865
American
Soldier, military, teacher
Graduated from the Kentucky School for the Deaf. Served in the Union Army (state militia) during the Civil War, then became a teacher at the Kentucky School. His son was William Jacobs Blount ( q.v. ).
Reference: Digest of the deaf, Nov. 1939, p.24.

Chamberlain, William Martin

July 13, 1832-Feb. 4, 1895
American
Soldier, military, newspaper editor, teacher
Born in South Reading, Massachusetts; deafened by measles at either 5 or 8; student at the American School from ages 10 to 14. At various times, was a sailor, carpenter, shoemaker, printer, newspaper editor, and teacher (the latter from 1875, at the Central New York School, Rome). Also managed to fake hearing and talk his way into the Union Army during the U.S. Civil War, but his deafness was discovered during combat and he was discharged.
Reference: Notable deaf persons, p.11-12; Gallaudet encyclopedia, vol.2 p.171; The frat, vol.35 no.4, Nov. 1937, p.3.

Chamberlayne, Hartwell Macon

Feb. 5, 1836-March 29, 1905
American
Teacher, soldier
Born deaf in Richmond, VA; teacher at the Virginia School; served without injury in the Confederate Army in the infantry, cavalry, and artillery; died at Staunton, VA. At the Battle of Newmarket, he ran into James Jennings (q.v.), an opposing Union soldier and prisoner-of-war who was also deaf.
References: Notable deaf persons, p.37-38; The frat, Feb. 1938; CAID proceedings, 17th, p.176-177.

English, Henry Clay

Oct. 5, 1838-Jan. 9, 1889
American
Teacher, soldier, military
Born in Pike County, MO and deafened at an early age. Attended the Missouri Institution for the Education of the Deaf and Dumb and the Illinois School for the deaf, completing the latter in 1860. Appointed a teacher in the Louisiana State School for the deaf until the school was forced to close its doors in 1862 because of the U.S. Civil War. He enlisted in the Confederate army and served through the end of the war. When the Louisiana School reopened in 1866, he resumed teaching there until moving to teach at the Missouri Institution. He remained there until his death.
Reference: CAID proceedings, 12th, p.336-337.

Fischer, G.E.

July 16, 1838-?
American
Businessman, sailor, military
Late-deafened. Born on his father's ship at sea; went to sea himself at age 10 as a cabin boy, rising to first mate of a clipper ship. When the Civil War broke out, joined the Union Navy. Lost his hearing in 1863 from "ship fever" and reassigned to shore duty until the end of the war. Took a position as steward and diver on his brother-in-law's ship postwar until 1879, when an accident damaged his health. Eventually moved to Omaha, NE and opened a wholesaling business. Married Angeline Ashby Fuller ( q.v.)
Reference: Representative deaf persons [first edition].

George, James Goodloe

Sept. 8, 1825-May 2, 1876
American
Editor, teacher, soldier, military
Deafened at age 6 by scarlet fever; held various positions, including printer, teacher (at the Missouri and Kentucky Schools), editor, and bookkeeper. Was an enlisted private in the Unionist home guards during the U.S. Civil War; died at Danville, KY.
References: Notable deaf persons, p.25-27; Gallaudet encyclopedia, vol.2 p.171; The frat, Aug. 1938, p.3; American annals of the deaf, vol.21 no.3, July 1876, p.195.

Jennings, James

fl. 1864
American
Soldier, military
Although deaf, served in the Union Army during the American Civil War. When he was captured at the Battle of Newmarket (Va.), he met Hartwell M. Chamberlayne, a deaf Confederate soldier whom he had known in New York City before the war.
Reference: The frat, Feb. 1939, p.3.

King, Robert Heber

March 12, 1840-?
American
Soldier?, military, insurance agent
Born at Lexington, KY and attended the Kentucky Institution for the Deaf and Dumb, graduating in 1859. Served in the Army during and after the American Civil War, but it is not clear whether he actually served as a soldier or only in a civilian support position. He served several generals and other high-ranking officers until 1871, when he was furloughed due to cuts in the size of the Army. After a short time in business, he went into the insurance business, in which he was very successful. Also served as a notary public and as a director of the Kentucky School. Married Belle Beard.
References: Representative deaf persons [first edition], p.78-79; Peeps into the deaf world, p.184-185; Benefits of education to the deaf, p.13; Representative deaf persons [second edition], p.93-95.

M'Farland, James H.

July 7, 1829-Dec. 12, 1901
American
Soldier, military
Born deaf at Louisville, MO; student at the Illinois and Missouri Schools for the deaf, 1857 to sometime in the 1860s. During the American Civil War, was a dispatch carrier for the Confederate army; post-war, held various jobs.
Reference: CAID proceedings, 16th, p.325.

Oppenheimer, Benedict

fl. 1865
American
Soldier
Not only deaf from childhood scarlet fever, but one of the very few Southern Jewish soldiers to join the Confederate Army during the U.S. Civil War, joining in Tennessee. After the war, he used to tell stories in sign language or pencil and paper about how his military company always picked him to fire the cannon because he was already deaf anyway.
Reference: The Jewish Confederates.

Simpson, William

1842?-?
American
Soldier, military, farmer
Lost his hearing gradually beginning in childhood; retained enough hearing to fool the military examiners and join the Union Army at the outbreak of the U.S. Civil War. After the war, inherited the family farm, making his two deaf brothers, Delos A. and James A., work on the same basis as the hired hands.
Reference: Notable deaf persons, p.153.

Yeager, John H.

fl. 1865
American
Soldier, military
Graduate of the Kentucky School for the Deaf. Served in the Union Army (state militia) during the American Civil War.
Reference: Digest of the deaf, Nov. 1939, p.24.

 

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Prepared by Tom Harrington
Reference and Instruction Librarian
June, 2002Yea
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